Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Narcissus x compressus Haw. subsp. bifrons

Probably a hybrid between Narcissus jonquilla L. and Narcissus tazetta L., with characteristics intermediate between the two.  [RHSD].  The plant described as Narcissus intermedius by Baker has about four, deeply-channelled leaves and umbels of up to ten flowers with oblong, spreading, bright lemon-yellow perianth segments and short, cup-shaped, orange-yellow corona.  Hermione bifrons [ssp. bifrons] has narrower perianth segments and larger corona.  [Baker Am.].

The Plant List considers Narcissus bifrons Ker Gawl. to be a form of Narcissus tazetta subsp. aureus Baker, but the evidence of the figure used to illustrate Ker Gawler’s description (used as illustration here) makes it much more likely that this plant is a hybrid as the author surmised.

Horticultural & Botanical History

That it is a hybrid between Narcissus jonquilla L. and Narcissus tazetta L. is in agreement with William Herbert who demonstrated that ‘Hermione bifrons and compressa [were hybrids between] Hermione tazetta and jonquilla.’  [BR vol.29 f.38/1843]. 

Curtis's Botanical Magazine figures Narcissus bifrons, the ‘Jonquil-scented narcissus’: ‘We have called it bifrons from an almost equally proportioned resemblance to both Jonquilla and calathinus. […] Is it a mule production between the two species?  The bulbs were imported about two years ago from Holland, by a Seedsman, in Bond–Street, under the name which we have adopted above for our English one.  [BM t.1186/1809].  It is also figured as variety beta ‘[the state] in which we have seen it after several years abode with us’.  [BM t.1299/1810]. 

The variety beta is called by Salisbury Hermione bifrons.  [THS vol.1 p.358/1805-1812].  ‘This species [Hermione stellaris] has probably originated in the Dutch gardens from the Jonquil, fecundated by some of the following, but it is not a hybrid, having ripened seeds in Mr. Gibbs’s nursery.’  [THS vol.1 p.358/1805-1812].  

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [B.335/1857].


Published May 17, 2009 - 04:42 PM | Last updated Aug 08, 2012 - 04:42 PM

Shown are  a leaf and flowers with a bright yellow perianth and small, yellow corolla.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.1186,1809.

Narcissus × compressus Haw. subsp. bifrons | BM t.1186/1809 as Narcissus bifrons | BHL

Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Possibly garden origin but it may be a naturally occuring hybrid

  • Narcissus bifrons Ker-Gawl.
  • Hermione stellaris Salisb.
  • Hermione bifrons Salisb.
  • Narcissus x intermedius Loisel. subsp. bifrons
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Narcissus bifrons 

Confidence level